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College football bonuses throughout sport near $14 million after bowls, playoffs

Massive figure doesn't include bonuses not paid for departed coaches

Bonus bucks.

The enormous sums of money might have hit a record level in college football following the Monday night conclusion of the 2021 college football season, which ended when Georgia topped Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship.

Per USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz, college football bonus money paid to coaches and their staff will top $13.5 million in the coming weeks.

Here’s the thing: that figure would have been vastly closer to more than $14 million had, for example, Brian Kelly not left Notre Dame for LSU prior to the Fighting Irish’s Fiesta Bowl berth. Per sources, Kelly was in line for as much as a $200,000-plus bonus for the New Year’s Six appearance; Brian Polian, who likewise bolted South Bend, Indiana, for the special teams coordinator role at LSU also would have received a sizable bonus for the Irish’s postseason appearance.

Not surprisingly, no coach soared to greater incentive monies than Georgia’s Kirby Smart. Per USA Today, Smart’s contract awards him $850,000 -- $450,000 of which stems from the Bulldogs’ two CFP wins.

For perspective, Smart's bonus earnings alone are more than 15 Football Bowls Subdivision coaches' annual salaries. 

Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell, a client of CAA, might have one of the most intriguing bonus structures. Chadwell, with a base salary of $850,000, is set to earn $450,000 in additional bonus bucks – or 53% of his base salary. Chadwell signed a reworked contract, made public by the school, after his team's national-attention-grabbing 2020 campaign.

Chadwell, who has guided the Chanticleers to unprecedent heights, nabs $200,000 for Coastal’s Cure Bowl win and another $250,000 for his team’s placement inside the top 50 of the final national polls.

The complete breakdown from Berkowitz can be found here